Families could be asked to ration their energy use when the WIND doesn't blow to avoid blackouts – Daily Mail

By Summer Goodkind For Mailonline and Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter


Millions of Britons could be asked to limit energy use this winter to head off blackouts by avoiding using gas and electricity at peak times and turning off the lights on days when the wind doesn’t blow, an energy expert has warned.
Kathryn Porter, from consultancy Watt-Logic, said it was possible households could be asked not to use energy guzzling appliances at peak hours or eat their dinner at a different time.
In the US tens of millions of people have been asked not to use washing machines, dishwashers and ovens between 2pm and 8pm because of the global energy crisis. Charging cars before 9pm is also not advised.
Away from the home, in Germany, street lights are being dimmed, traffic lights at quieter junctions are turned off, hot water and central heating is off in public buildings and monuments will no longer be lit overnight.
Ms Porter has said that it’s ‘very possible’ the UK will see plans for energy rationing, despite Liz Truss absolutely ruling it out.
She told BBC’s World at One: ‘Unfortunately, as each winter goes by, the risk of blackouts is increasing because we have been replacing thermal and nuclear generation with intermittent renewables. That makes us vulnerable in times when wind output is low.
‘We have had quite low wind output in July and August…Demand is a lot higher in the winter, so if we have those weather conditions in the winter, our system is going to get very tight and that raises a risk of blackouts.’
With similar schemes in California and Texas – Ms Porter expects that authorities could ask consumers to reduce their use of electricity during peak hours – although in the US all these schemes are not enforced in law.
‘It is possible we will see something similar here this winter,’ she said, adding: ‘I think it would be more an appeal or request for people to have their dinner earlier or later, or avoid using large appliances like washing machines during peak hours. I think it would be voluntary rather than compulsory’.
Meanwhile, Stephen Fitzpatrick, the boss of Ovo Energy, has proposed a plan to protect poorer households against a ‘winter like never before’.
Essentially, the tariffs for homes using a small amount of gas and electricity would be frozen at the current level, but the charge per unit would rise sharply once usage rises above a set threshold. This means heavy power users – typically wealthy families in big homes – would pay more for heat and light than poorer households.
As statistics show wind power generation of electricity is dropping after years of growth, Britons could be asked to turn off the lights if the wind doesn’t blow
Families may be asked to cut their energy usage this winter to avoid blackouts if the weather ‘doesn’t go in our favour’, an energy expert has warned
Britons are forecast to suffer from ever-increasing energy bills over the coming months as the Government comes under pressure to provide more help 
‘Liz Truss isn’t in a position to say there won’t be any rationing. If there’s not enough generation to meet demand then either you have rationing or you have blackouts’, Ms Porter said
She continued: ‘I don’t think it would be “you’re not allowed to” because there’s no real way of policing that. I think it would just be more of an appeal.’
However, on the topic of potential Prime Minister candidate Liz Truss, who at last night’s hustings ‘ruled out’ energy rationing said she is ‘in no position to do so’.  
She said: ‘Liz Truss isn’t in a position to say there won’t be any rationing. If there’s not enough generation to meet demand then either you have rationing or you have blackouts. 
‘The problem with blackouts is that they affect everybody and clearly there’s a hope that important infrastructures such as hospitals will have backup generators on site they can use and it’s important they test those facilities just in case they are needed in winter. 
‘But I don’t think National Grid is going to sit there and just allow blackouts to happen because Liz Truss says she doesn’t want rationing. We will have rationing before we have blackouts.’
According to the energy expert, with each winter that goes by, energy black-outs are increasing. 
This is due to replacing thermal and nuclear generation with intermittent renewable’s – which can ‘make us vulnerable’, she says, at times when wind output is low. 
‘We’ve had quite low wind output throughout July and August and on three separate occasions National Grid have warned we may run out of electricity.
‘The demand is a lot higher in the winter because that high pressure weather system is also very cold, which increases heating demand. 
‘Much of Northern Europe has had similar low wind conditions as us which also really restricts our ability to import our electricity from elsewhere’ she said.
In order to get through winter without any change, the high-pressure system will have to change and the weather ‘go in our favour’ she said. 
This comes as Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi today admitted he is ‘deeply concerned’ that Britons could freeze from the cold this winter due to the soaring price of gas and electricity.
With average energy bills set to rocket to £3,549 a year from next month – and with costs set to rise even further next year – Mr Zahawi insisted ‘there’s nothing off the table’ as ministers consider what extra support to provide.
Although he is expected to lose his job as Treasury chief when either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak replaces Boris Johnson as Prime Minister next week, Mr Zahawi has been putting together different options for the incoming premier.
He acknowledged there were ‘no easy options’ for dealing with the cost-of-living crisis but said ‘no one should be cut off’ because they can’t afford their heating bills.
Mr Zahawi is backing Ms Truss for the Tory leadership. And the Foreign Secretary today gave another strong indication that more support for struggling families is imminent, should she become PM.
She vowed to ‘deliver immediate support to ensure people are not facing unaffordable fuel bills’ this winter.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi acknowledged there were ‘no easy options’ for dealing with the cost-of-living crisis but said ‘no one should be cut off’ because they can’t afford their bills
Speaking to Sky News on his trip to America, Mr Zahawi revealed his Treasury was ‘looking at all the options’ in providing extra help for hard-pressed Britons this winter.
He said: ‘There’s nothing off the table. We are looking at all the options.
‘Everything from the chief executive of Scottish Power talking about help where we need to maybe create some sort of a fund for companies to be able to continue to help their customers.
‘All the way through to making sure we target the help to both households and small and medium-size businesses and probably some larger businesses.’
Boris Johnson today also urged his successor to ‘go nuclear, go large’ as he promised a £700million investment in the proposed Sizewell C power station in Suffolk.
Boris Johnson today delivered what is likely have been his final major policy speech as Prime Minister before he departs Downing Street next week
In his final major policy speech as Prime Minister, the outgoing premier said he was ‘absolutely confident it will get over the line’ in the next few weeks.
Mr Johnson warned it would be ‘absolute madness’ not to push ahead with the nuclear project as Russian President Vladimir Putin wreaks havoc with global oil and gas markets.
He expressed his confidence that his successor – whether Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – would abandon the ‘short-termism’ and ‘myopia’ that has hampered previous Government thinking on Britain’s energy security.
The PM also tore into New Labour’s record on developing new nuclear power in Britain, as he accused Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of having done ‘absolutely nothing’ during 13 years in office.
The PM made a visit to EDF’s existing nuclear power station in Sizewell, Suffolk, as he continued his farwell tour of Britain before leaving Downing Street
The new nuclear power station is planned for the same site as the existing Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast. The PM today promised a £700million investment in the project
‘Thanks a bunch Tony and thanks a bunch Gordon,’ he said, while Mr Johnson also took a swipe at former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg for opposing new nuclear sites.
The Sizewell C project is being pursued in the face of stiff local opposition, although Mr Johnson dismissed protests being staged outside where he was speaking as ‘pure nimbyism’.
The RSPB have warned it could be ‘catastrophic’ for wildlife at the charity’s nearby Minsmere nature reserve, where some of Britain’s rarest birds have only avoided extinction by surviving in the reedbeds.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats hit out at Mr Johnson’s ‘hollow words’ on investment in energy projects.
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